Rapid Risk Assessment: Severe respiratory disease associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus - 13th update, 21 January 2015

Risk assessment

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Severe respiratory diseases associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Thirteenth update 15 January 2015. Stockholm: ECDC; 2015.

​The thirteenth updated rapid risk assessment on MERS-CoV shows a decrease in cases after the surge in October 2014, with the majority of MERS-CoV cases still reported from the Arabian Peninsula, mainly from Saudi Arabia.

Executive summary

The risk posed to the EU by MERS-CoV remains low.

No cases have been reported in Europe since late September 2014, when Austria and Turkey both reported imported cases of the disease.

It remains possible that other cases of MERS-CoV could be imported to the EU following exposure in the Middle East, but the risk of sustained human-to-human transmission is low.

The source of infection and mode of transmission of the disease have not yet been confirmed. As of 11 January 2015, 972 cases, including 394 deaths, had been reported by local health authorities worldwide.

In order to minimise the risk to Europe, and to support effective detection and implementation of relevant infection control procedures, it is important that health care professionals remain fully aware that the disease continues to circulate in the Middle East.